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DonRocks

Craft Beers: Lies, Marketing, and Public Relations

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1 hour ago, B.A.R. said:

I was in Lexington, VA last weekend and the 7-11 on the outskirts of town had a growler filling station. About 10 craft beers on tap and three sizes of growlers to purchase and fill.

Obviously, the greatest 7-11 in the world.

You know what? I was just thinking about this maybe an hour ago. What I have to say may not win any popularity contests, but I'm going to say it anyway:

"If you can buy it at 7-11, it isn't a craft beer."

I get that the formal definition of "craft beer" is:

1) 6 million barrels of beer or less per year (*)
2) Only 25% of the company can be controlled by a company that *isn't* a craft brewery. Restated, at least 75% of the company must be owned by craft breweries
3) A majority (meaning "over 50 percent") of the ABV must come from traditional brewing techniques

Lipstick on a pig. This isn't craft beer; it's crap beer. You can go through the whole list of 7-11 beers: Fat Tire, Yuengling, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, Bell's, Deschutes, Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, Anchor Steam, even the once-excellent Great Lakes ... it's *all crap* or quickly turning into crap. Some of these were good, honest beers at one time in the past - and some still may be while they "establish themselves as 7-11-Level Craft Beers," but if any remain that haven't totally gone to shit, they will within the next 5-10 years: Bet on it.

As I said, I don't expect to win the Miss Congeniality Award for this opinion, and I couldn't care less because I know I'm right.

(*) Do you know how much beer this is? 186 million gallons, or 12 million kegs.
Divided equally into 50 states (which doesn't include exports), that's 3,720,000 gallons of beer, per year, per state.
Divided by 365 days, that's 10,200 gallons of beer, per day, per state.
Divided into 12-ounce cans, that's 108,800 cans of beer, per day, per state.

That means that every day, in every state, someone walks in and buys a six-pack 18,000 times.

Enjoy your "craft" beers.

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Enjoy your "craft" beers.

Thanks, Don, I do and will continue to, hopefully for the remainder of my years on this planet.

In my opinion, the issue as to whether the output of established craft breweries has been or will be on the decline is overshadowed by the issue that many of the new breweries that are popping up, and particularly locally here, started selling crap beer at the outset, thereby taking shelf space and taps away from much better beers of the same and different styles in institutions that attempt to promote local beers.

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Don,

While I agree with some of what you're saying, the numbers you provided don't necessarily tell the entire story. 

I certainly do not like the fact that mass-produced beers with crappy ingredients (Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc) are often passed off as "craft beers", but I've never seen them offered as growlers in a 7-11 or anywhere else. (Watch "Beer Wars" if you haven't already)

While a craft brewer must indeed brew 6M bbl or less per year, the entire craft brewing market in the US is 24M bbl. While Yuengling (ugh) is technically a craft brewer, they produce 2.8M bbl per year. Compare that output to the output of Oskar Blues (150k bbl), Anchor Brewing (132k bbl), and Lagunitas (640k bbl) in order to get a better idea of the craft beer industry. 

I've been very skeptical of smaller breweries that have sold out to the multinational corporations, but fortunately, there are so many other good choices that it doesn't bother me. (Sorry Goose Island, but I've moved on). Here's an interesting article that goes into much more detail:

Sep 8, 2015 - "It Doesn't Matter Who Owns Your Favorite Brewery" by Aaron Goldfarb on esquire.com

 I agree with the author's assertion that the quality doesn't necessarily decrease after breweries are sold, and I also find it hard to fault those who profit by selling to larger

Thanks to your post, I perused https://www.brewersassociation.org/ for the first time, and discovered it offers a wealth of information about local breweries as well as the industry as a whole. 

Slightly off topic; Finally, if you want a great place to fill a growler or enjoy a frequently changing tap selection by the glass, check out the Whole Foods at Fair Lakes. The sports bar offers 20 beers on tap, including two nitro taps. Inside the main store, they offer an additional six taps at the cheese counter, and a few more at the barbecue and seafood areas. Oh by the way, they have a wine tasting room upstairs with 80 wines on offer.

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On 7/7/2016 at 5:01 PM, JBag57 said:

Thanks, Don, I do and will continue to, hopefully for the remainder of my years on this planet.

In my opinion, the issue as to whether the output of established craft breweries has been or will be on the decline is overshadowed by the issue that many of the new breweries that are popping up, and particularly locally here, started selling crap beer at the outset, thereby taking shelf space and taps away from much better beers of the same and different styles in institutions that attempt to promote local beers.

You're probably right - I honestly don't know. We may not disagree with very much here.

I do know that I've spent thirty years witnessing the decline of previously *awesome* beers (granted, there wasn't much to choose from) which are now no better than Michelob, and in some cases, worse, because Michelob is at least no worse than club soda, i.e., it's not offensive.

In the early 80's, Anchor Steam Ale, Sierra Nevada Porter, Pilsner Urquell, Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, Hacker-Pschorr Munich, and Spaten Oktoberfest were legitimately world-class beers - those are the ones that I'm certain were sold back then, and I can attest to them having been *incredible*. 

Just a couple years ago, I wrote my friend with whom I traveled around Europe in 1989 (this is in the Italy thread). Shortly after that trip, we were at "Steak Night" at The Saloon in Georgetown (later renamed "The Saloun" due to conflict with The Saloon on U Street), which I believe was a Tuesday. We each ordered a pint of a brand new keg (so we were told) of Spaten Oktoberfest, and perchance took our first sip at the exact same moment. We both immediately looked up at each other, eyes as wide as saucers, knowing full well that the beer we just took a sip of was better than anything either of us had ever tasted in America (we later agreed on this) - and comparable to what we had in Germany at the local biergartens in Heidelberg, Munich, etc. This beer was so good that he wrote me right back after my email, and remembered the incident just as clearly as I do - this guy is a *serious*, hardcore beer lover (he also got to the final three to be Ozzy Osbourne's lead guitarist, I shit you not, and went out to dinner with Osbourne and the other two candidates, only to be told at that meal he didn't make it - this is after Osbourne left Black Sabbath - anyway, interesting anecdote about one of my best friends which reminds me about "Tank." Curtis (my friend), Gary (Tank's drummer), and I used to hit up The Black Rooster Pub pretty regularly, downing beers and shooting darts - I was like a fish out of water next to those two (especially Gary) because I was like Richie Cunningham, but the three of us got along famously. What the hell am I even talking about right now?)

I do apologize for the extremely strong tone in my post, but it's an issue I feel passionately about, and unfortunately, not one I can back down from - but that doesn't mean "I'm right and everyone else is wrong"; it just means "I'm fiercely passionate about this issue."

On 7/7/2016 at 6:35 PM, reedm said:

Don,

While I agree with some of what you're saying, the numbers you provided don't necessarily tell the entire story. 

I certainly do not like the fact that mass-produced beers with crappy ingredients (Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc) are often passed off as "craft beers", but I've never seen them offered as growlers in a 7-11 or anywhere else. (Watch "Beer Wars" if you haven't already)

While a craft brewer must indeed brew 6M bbl or less per year, the entire craft brewing market in the US is 24M bbl. While Yuengling (ugh) is technically a craft brewer, they produce 2.8M bbl per year. Compare that output to the output of Oskar Blues (150k bbl), Anchor Brewing (132k bbl), and Lagunitas (640k bbl) in order to get a better idea of the craft beer industry. 

I've been very skeptical of smaller breweries that have sold out to the multinational corporations, but fortunately, there are so many other good choices that it doesn't bother me. (Sorry Goose Island, but I've moved on). Here's an interesting article that goes into much more detail:

Sep 8, 2015 - "It Doesn't Matter Who Owns Your Favorite Brewery" by Aaron Goldfarb on esquire.com

I agree with the author's assertion that the quality doesn't necessarily decrease after breweries are sold, and I also find it hard to fault those who profit by selling to larger

Thanks to your post, I perused https://www.brewersassociation.org/ for the first time, and discovered it offers a wealth of information about local breweries as well as the industry as a whole. 

Slightly off topic; Finally, if you want a great place to fill a growler or enjoy a frequently changing tap selection by the glass, check out the Whole Foods at Fair Lakes. The sports bar offers 20 beers on tap, including two nitro taps. Inside the main store, they offer an additional six taps at the cheese counter, and a few more at the barbecue and seafood areas. Oh by the way, they have a wine tasting room upstairs with 80 wines on offer.

Reed, your post is an excellent one, and I have no doubt your figures are absolutely correct - I was giving a nightmare, worst-case scenario of what might come to pass. And I absolutely don't fault breweries for selling out - who wouldn't? But those breweries, God love 'em, are no longer my friends, and to a large degree, are my enemies; but I do not fault the people involved for wanting to make money. 

I'm equally passionate about over-hopped beers, which I compare to over-oaked wines. Mercifully, that trend seems to be dissipating with the wane of Robert Parker's influence.

BTW, I strongly, strongly disagree with the majority of what Aaron Goldfarb said in his Esquire article. It seems innocuous, but to my eyes, it's an extremely dangerous piece of writing.

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

Reed, your post is an excellent one, and I have no doubt your figures are absolutely correct - I was giving a nightmare, worst-case scenario of what might come to pass. And I absolutely don't fault breweries for selling out - who wouldn't? But those breweries, God love 'em, are no longer my friends, and to a large degree, are my enemies; but I do not fault the people involved for wanting to make money. 

I'm equally passionate about over-hopped beers, which I compare to over-oaked wines. Mercifully, that trend seems to be dissipating with the wane of Robert Parker's influence.

BTW, I strongly, strongly disagree with the majority of what Aaron Goldfarb said in his Esquire article.

Don,

Not to be argumentative, because I find this very interesting, but I'd like to know why you disagree with the author so strongly. While I'm no expert with regards to the beer industry, I enjoy beer quite a bit, and have a reasonable amount of experience with the beverage :-). I'm not concerned with InBev buying up smaller breweries as long as they don't change the product. If InBev uses their power to displace some of the budlimeorangewhatever in order to replace it with Lagunitas, for example, isn't that a good thing?

I get tired of overly hoppy beers after a while, as well. As long as Kolsch-style beers don't become trendy, though, I'm not too concerned about the prevalence of hoppy beers. 

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I totally disagree and do not have the time to write a complete analysis, however, although the evil giant InBev now owns Goose Island, Goose Island still produces world class beers (and they are more available then before the purchase).  I have always thought Fat Tire sucked, from the first day I tasted in in 1991 on a school trip when we crossed the Mississippi (for the longest time I thought the whole brewery sucked because Fat Tire is such a retched beer).  Lagunitas Sucks is a world class brew.  Bells makes amazing beers still to this day.  Sierra Nevada still uses only whole cone hops and carbonates naturally and has figured out a way to remain relevant.  Just because something is small doesn't mean it is good.  Just because it is big it doesn't mean it is bad.  I have always just followed this one rule: if it tastes good drink it.  If not, pour it down the toilet (last night at Flying Dog I gave them back my glass of Hibiscus Grapefruit Raddler and demanded another beer!)

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Reed and pras, I just woke up, so now's a good time to respond to both of you - I don't want to argue; instead, I'd like to try to work together towards a common goal (a meeting of the minds), and perhaps learn something along the way. This is the way I prefer to discuss subjects where there are multiple sides to an issue. Reed, I disagree with Goldfarb so strongly becuase he seems to represent young America's taste in beer right now: for grotesquely hoppy, high-alcohol monster beers with macho names like "Super Truck Triple IPA." Also, I simply do not believe Anchor Steam is the same beer it was 30 years ago - same with all those beers I listed. At this point, I'd like to propose that I possess two foibles: 1) an over-sensitivity to hops and 2) a bias against bottled beer in general.

1) I consider America's taste toward hoppy beers equivalent to our taste in oaky wines (worse ten years ago), some people's taste in peaty scotch (Nick Offerman likens Lagavulin 16 to "mother's milk"), and Germany's penchant for trocken wines, even when some of those wines would benefit from at least a touch of residual sugar. I have what can only be called an "extreme sensitivity" to rancid oil, and can often detect it in foods when others at the same table cannot (this is not an attribute so much as "a condition," and not a particularly enjoyable one). I think we have a nation-wide crisis regarding over-hopped beers (which is a blessing, because we're discussing *beer* like it's Armageddon - kind of refreshingly harmless when you think about it).

2) I value subtlety, nuance, and balance in my beers, and I think the carbonation process really hurts those, so I tend to like bottled beers less than other people do, and cherish the moments when I find a beer engine pumping out something that isn't a dark stout or porter (it seems like they often are). An example is here in Sacramento, CA at a Ruhstaller beer outlet, where the beer served out of the engine put everything we'd been drinking earlier that evening into perspective. I was with DIShGo, and she - a complete beer novice who barely even drinks - had her eyes wide-opened also - tasting this incredible beer from the engine was like taking blinders off.

These two things are admittedly my personal flaws and biases - I hope I don't allow them to become prejudices, but if I do, please correct me. I'm sure we'll be discussing this more, later. Anyway, I want to work *towards* understanding what you're arguing for here; right now, I'm not sure what it is.

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Don, I realize you were ranting on this one, but I'm going to have to disagree on a couple points.  "Craft brewing" as a designation of quality measured only in output of barrels per year is meaningless.  MEANINGLESS.  Beer is an industrial product.  Zymurgy is ultimately a science, not an art. The true "craft" part comes with innovation in recipes and attention to quality ingredients.  Once you have the recipe down production is limited only by your equipment and budget.  Smaller brewers can get away with more experimentation because the risk is so much lower at a small production volume, but even the big micros have small batch labs for this purpose.  You can produce really shitty beer in 1 bbl increments, or very good beer at 1 million bbl's.  It is literally a question of scale and quality control.

I once heard a very well-respected small craft brewer say (I'm paraphrasing): "The brewers at Anheuser Busch don't brew crappy, watered down beer because they have to.  They brew it because they want to, that is the exact product they are trying to produce."  Macro brewed products are perversely the envy of the brewing world in that they hit the mark they are trying to hit. Every. Single. Time. (Note: I'm talking actual beer here, not the lab-created "malternatives" like Lime-A-Rita or whatever).  Cheap beer isn't cheap because it is made in large quantities, it is cheap because it is made with readily available cheap ingredients (adjunct grains, hop extracts, etc.) at the lowest acceptable cost in order to sell it by the truckloads.  Brewers like Sierra Nevada show that you can brew beer in industrial quantities and still maintain quality that comes with good ingredients, and do so consistently.  They've been doing it for a pretty long time now.  There is no magic there.  You just need to have the space and capital to scale up, and the drive to maintain quality.

Now, back to "craft" brewers.  Yes, there are certainly some that have traded quality for consistency on the march towards nation-wide distribution, but that doesn't mean that finding a beer at a supermarket chain means it's crap.  I think that is the greatest thing about the craft brewing "revolution".  It has allowed brewers to bring their products to the masses due to increased demand for better beer.  Some do it well (in my mind: Sierra Nevada, Bell's, Dogfish, Lagunitas, Green Flash, Flying Dog), some have not and succumbed to the siren song of short cuts, whether by choice or at the heeding of their new overlords (the main Goose Island brands, Anchor, Red Hook, Pyramid), and some I don't think were ever very good in the first place but had a product that was palatable and "craft"-y enough to attract attention when there weren't many alternatives (New Belgium, Sam Adams come to mind).  Think about it: 20 years ago you would have had a Sierra Nevada and though "Hey, that's a really good pale ale!".  It stuck out because, hey!, there were very few good pale ales available at that scale.  Now it sits on the shelf with literally dozens of others of similar quality.  A relative embarrassment of riches.

I'm with you on the skewed production towards hoppy beers, but like the wine and whiskey worlds that is a matter of marketing.  Market makers (as the case may be) hype them up and the producers are happy to respond.  Then it became a feedback loop as they tried to out-lupulin each other.  The fads will always pass, but with the growth they produce comes opportunity.  I was at Whole Foods just last night and counted no fewer than 6 brands of gose on the shelf.  Gose!!  Even knowledgeable beer drinkers couldn't have named a producer of gose 5 years ago, and now Sierra Nevada is making one!  Not all of them are very good, mind you, but that they exist at all is pretty incredible.

It's an amazing time to be a beer aficionado, and I don't see it dying down any time soon.  Lament that fact that you can find good alternatives to BudMillerCoors at 7-11.  I think it's fucking great.

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TedE took the time that I don't to write the well developed response that I either didn't have the time to, or didn't know how to develop.  I agree 100%.  Budwiser from a brewing perspective is a good brewer in that every bottle that comes off the line tastes exactly the same, which especially impressive given it is brewed in several locations.  New Belgium makes a lot of mediocre beers, but they are masters at producing tarts (which is done in small quantities, because of space/production/time issues).  Flying Dog because of production limitations has contracted with FX Matt to produce their number one seller (Raging Bitch) and free up production space and create some interesting stuff.  While this may raise concern, FD went about a very scientific approach before they moved production of their number 1 brew.  In blind taste tests with bitch brewed in Frederick vs. Utica, they actually preferred what FX Matt made in Utica.  For anyone who doesn't know, FX Matt who makes their own beers such as Saranac and Utica Club, is probably the largest "contract brewer" in the country.  Their ability to make beers consistently for other companies is truly amazing.

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On 7/7/2016 at 1:47 PM, DonRocks said:

Fat Tire, Yuengling, Sam Adams, Lagunitas, Bell's, Deschutes, Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, Anchor Steam, even the once-excellent Great Lakes ... it's *all crap* or quickly turning into crap. Some of these were good, honest beers at one time in the past - and some still may be while they "establish themselves as 7-11-Level Craft Beers," but if any remain that haven't totally gone to shit, they will within the next 5-10 years: Bet on it.

Bell's and Deschutes?  Oh, no no no.

Don, I'm interested in your perspective: I was back home in Southern Oregon recently for Fourth of July, and was perusing the beer selection of the local hypersupermegamart Fred Meyer, a Portland-based chain that is now an arm of Kroger.  There are Fred Meyers throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, including in Brookings, my tiny little corner of southwest Oregon just above the California border.  The beer selection in the Brookings Fred Meyer is prodigious, with many, many Oregon-based beers from brewers such as Deschutes, Ninkasi, Full Sail, Rogue, Laurelwood, Portland Brewing, Base Camp, Caldera, Cascade, Green Flash, McMenamins, Pelican, Bridgeport, and so forth.  If these beers are readily available down in Brookings, then they are surely readily available at the other hypersupermegamart Fred Meyer locations throughout the state, and many of them can also easily be found in supermarkets up and down the West Coast (I definitely remember seeing Laurelwood, Full Sail, Green Flash, and Ninkasi in a random market in Truckee, California last summer, for instance, and of course Rogue is a standby of Whole Foods throughout the country).  Are they all "crap or quickly turning into crap" by virtue of having the volume to be carried in abundance by Fred Meyer stores in the Pacific Northwest?  If not, where are you drawing the line?  What makes Deschutes a crap beer now, just because we can (hallelujah) finally get them on the East Coast?  Is the difference in scale for 7/11 (if Deschutes is indeed available there, which I haven't seen yet) really so massive compared to their previous footprint of the Western half of the country (they were easy to get in Austin two years ago) for you to write them off so summarily?  Or is it that the Black Butte Porter and Fresh Squeezed IPA now are presumptively crap because they are now available on the East Coast (brewed out of Deschutes's North Carolina facility, unless I'm mistaken), while their Armory XPA and Deschutes River Ale still are as good as ever because you can't get them out here?  Has Rogue's Morimoto Soba Ale been crap all this time because you can get it in Whole Foods?  I think you do a disservice to the brewers from places like Deschutes and Bell's who have clearly been quality-focused for such a long time; unlike something like Blue Moon or even Goose Island (which is FAR more ubiquitous), they deserve the benefit of the doubt in believing they can scale their operations without compromising their integrity as committed craft brewers.

It's one thing to say, look, if a beer is so widely available that 7/11 can stock it, then it's not a "craft beer" for some definitions of the term.  It's quite another thing to then proclaim that all such beers are crap or quickly will be, which I find ridiculous.

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Wow, I have never disagreed more strongly with the original post. In fact, the whole premise I disagree with. Where you buy a beer or how many barrels are produced has little or no relevance to if it is craft or not. Not just relying on the definition that you noted (which was created with the help of BIG BEER to include things that are most certainly not craft beer). 

To say Deschutes or Bell's are not craft because they finally cracked the distribution cartel is just plain silly. It means they have finally broken some of big beer's lobbyist's vice grip on the system. It doesn't mean they've sold out, it doesn't mean their quality is less. It just means they finally can distribute. And if you're just picking the hoppiest brews from those specific breweries, you're missing out on a lot of great beers. It's very passe in Oregon in NoCal to be focused on that. The amount of lambic-esques, farm house beers (not the saisons being pumped out at 7% ABV), the radlers, the goses, and  the Brett monsters that pucker your mouth that are being brewed and served even by larger breweries will give you all the subtlety and nuance you want without taking a porn star style blast of hops to the back of the throat. 

If Pliny The Elder ever makes it to the 7-11 on Mt. Vernon Ave because they figured out how to break down the byzantine distribution structure that currently exists doesn't make it a non-craft beer. That must means the good guys won and the bad guys lost. It's still being made in a little bar that serves damn good pizza in Santa Rosa. Some people don't love Port City, but it's in my local 7-11, and some of their stuff is quite tasty, I like the Metro Red, currently. DC Brau and 3 Stars (occasionally) is in the Del Ray 7-11, and those are most certainly craft, and respectable beers. 

You're not "wrong". "Wrong" would be me treating the wrong breast with radiation. What you've done is treated the wrong person, and instead of their breast, you treated their lung instead :)

EDIT: Also, from what I gather, the individual franchisees "curate" what beers they sell at 7-11. If you have a pretty sharp owner/operator, you probably get better beers. If not (like the 7-11 a mile up from the one on Windsor, in "El Salvador), you have lesser quality beers and many more options for malt liquors. So, I think the selection at 7-11s will be quite variable, I don't think it's a "top down" management decision of what to supply.

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For what its worth, I stumbled upon the following article: (I know nothing about the author)

"Craft Beer is Dead. Gose Killed It." by Joe Koehane on thrilllist.com

Whether one agrees or not, it seems to me to have some interesting comments about staying ahead of the crowd for its own sake.

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Again, if it is good, drink it, if it isn't don't.  It is beer for god's sake, not a cure for cancer.  It is just meant to be enjoyed.  If you like a gose, lambic, hop monster, high alcohol bomb, something so funky it smells like puke, malt forward beer, double, tripple, quad, wild, kolsch, raddler, and on and on and on, drink it.  If you don't, then move on.

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7 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

I think I'm going to go to Churchkey right now to get something nobody has ever heard of .. 

We should meet up sometime.  I still need to use my $50 gift certificate from volunteering at Snallygaster, which I highly recommend doing (volunteering that is).

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4 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

all the subtlety and nuance you want without taking a porn star style blast of hops to the back of the throat. 

Probably the funniest line on this site. Bad visual though! 

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Never in my life did I expect to see someone I respect calling Deschutes a crap beer.  It took me quite aback.

Their Black Butte Porter is damn near my personal idea of beer perfection, eminently quaffable on all occasions.  And not hoppy neither.

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I think what the recent explosion in the number of breweries and the different kinds of beer styles have accomplished is just expand and deepen the continuum of beer choice.  Back in the day people had little choice between which fizzy yellow beer they could drink.  Other options were out there as Don originally referred to, they were just harder to access.  Now, as TedE wrote so well, there are a number of goses commonly available.  Some suck, some are amazing, some are middling.  Same with IPAs, double IPAs, stouts, pale ales, saisons, etc.   Once the final frontier of different or "extreme" beer styles has been explored, what I see signs of is a number of craft breweries doubling back and focusing on the "old school" styles like pils, lagers, red ales, brown ales, and the like. At that point there will be amazing, middling, and sucky examples of them also commonly available.  I don't think having that choice is a bad thing at all.

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21 hours ago, johnb said:

For what its worth, I stumbled upon the following article: (I know nothing about the author)

"Craft Beer is Dead. Gose Killed It." by Joe Koehane on thrilllist.com

Whether one agrees or not, it seems to me to have some interesting comments about staying ahead of the crowd for its own sake.

I've read this twice, and I still don't get it.  Or maybe I do get it and find it to be a terrible thought piece at best.  The chain of reasoning goes:

  • Gose, as a beer style, is disgusting.
  • Craft brewers have jumped on the gose bandwagon and are producing them in non-trivial quantities.
  • Therefore, craft brewing has become a pointless and aimless exercise in one-upmanship.

The whole premise hinges on the first proposition being universally true for all beer drinkers.  It's not, and everything that follows is just silly.  I don't think it actually has anything interesting to say about staying ahead of the crowd for its own sake.  It's just saying that the author thinks some sour beers taste like stale sweat.

For people who do like gose, tell me again how increased diversity in available beer styles is a bad thing?

Look, nobody is doubting that there are novelty beers out there that appeal mainly to people looking to be at the forefront (or radical fringe) of beer: habanero IPAs, chocolate peanut butter porters, mango doughnut ale.  It's not my thing, but I recognize it as A Thing that can be ignored if you aren't into it.  I think there may be an argument to be made by focusing on those, not historical styles that might have been lost to history but were not precisely because the popularity of craft beer created enough room at the table to accommodate both.

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Objectively speaking, it's a terrible article that make those that read it dumber, and wish I could take back that 4 minutes of my life. But, I can't. You can't. We all can't. 

When you think about it, all craft beer is basically "the fringe," since it only makes up 7% or so of what is drank. Yet, it's talked about like it is so common. "Real America" hardly drinks any craft beer, it's just urban people/cultural elite. Basically, people that watch Breaking Bad or Sopranos or shit like that. Or people that read and post on regional food message boards :) 

 

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On 8/15/2016 at 2:37 PM, reedm said:

Well Harumph...

"Amid Deal with Anheuser-Busch, Craft Brewery Gets Kicked Out of Its Own Festival" by Fritz Hahn on washingtonpost.com

I read the article.  It is interesting, but I still hold that if the beer is good drink it.  I have a bunch of Miller Lite hanging out in my fridge from a party I had several months ago, that no one will drink.  Mind you I am a self proclaimed beer snob.  You know what?  Last Friday, when it was 100 degrees out and we were eating crabs on the deck, nothing could have tasted better.

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Yeah, totally Beer is so contextual.. Was at an engagement party in Southern Virginia that was outdoors this weekend, and Bud Light was hitting the spot. Though, I think I would have felt even more 'Merican if it was Bud Heavy in bottles. 

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